Trump: 'People are fleeing New York state'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE on Monday said that people are "fleeing" New York, slamming his home state's leadership for its tax policies and legal battles with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

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"People are fleeing New York State because of high taxes and yes, even oppression of sorts," Trump tweeted shortly after claiming the NRA was "under siege" from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and state Attorney General Letitia James (D).

 

New York state has seen its population decline in recent years. U.S. Census Bureau data released in December found the Empire State lost 48,510 residents between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, more than any other state in that time frame.

Trump claimed Monday the state "didn't even put up a fight against SALT" — the state and local tax deduction that was capped as part of Republican legislation passed in late 2017 — and "could have won."

Cuomo has consistently led a charge among Democrats who have argued the SALT deduction cap disproportionately affects blue states like New York, New Jersey and California, leading to higher taxes for their residents.

The New York governor traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this year to meet with Trump on the subject, and five of the nine New York Republicans in the House in 2017 voted against the tax bill, citing concerns over how it would impact their constituents.

Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyPelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Pelosi: Israel's Omar-Tlaib decision 'a sign of weakness' MORE (D-N.Y.), who has offered legislation along with Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y) to restore the full SALT deduction, criticized Trump's tweet.

"Is he living under a rock?! We fought tooth and nail against the Republican elimination of the SALT deduction," Lowey said in her own tweet. "If he's OK with bringing it back, he should join me in convincing members of his own party to reverse their decision to hurt working families." 

Trump said in an interview in February that he would be open to revisiting the tax law's $10,000 cap on the SALT deduction, but top White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE said earlier this month that he doesn't think the tax-cut law will be reconsidered.

The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimated that the majority of people in high-tax states still got a reduction in their individual income taxes under Trump's law in 2018 even with the SALT deduction cap. But the group also estimated that the states where the greatest percentage of households will see a tax increase are high-tax states in the Northeast and California.

The Tax Policy Center, whose director is a former Obama administration official, estimated that if the SALT deduction cap were repealed, it would "reduce the disparity in the tax cuts ... across taxpayers in different states, but it also would increase the tax cut for high-income taxpayers and substantially increase the revenue cost of the legislation."

The president, a New York City native, has had a fraught relationship with his home state since moving into the Oval Office. 

Cuomo has routinely criticized Trump's rhetoric and policies, and the state's attorneys general have engaged in numerous legal fights with the Trump administration and the president personally.

The state's former acting attorney general sued the Trump Foundation last year, accusing the nonprofit organization of illegally assisting the president's 2016 campaign and misusing its funds to pay off legal bills, business debts and other expenses at Trump properties.

The Trump Foundation agreed to shut down last year amid the lawsuit, but the state said it would continue to seek $2.8 million in restitution plus penalties.

The state has also joined a number of lawsuits against Trump policies, including the addition of a citizenship question to the census and the separation of migrant families at the border.

Trump earlier Monday alleged Cuomo and James are "illegally using the State's legal apparatus to take down and destroy" the NRA. James's office last week issued subpoenas to the NRA and its affiliates as part of an investigation into the organization's tax-exempt status.

Naomi Jagoda contributed to this report which was updated at 10:41 a.m.